While social distancing, mask wearing, limited capacities, and tax extensions became our new normal in 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic is coming to an end with widespread access to the vaccine. Nonprofits had to become creative about the best way to fundraise during these unprecedented times. However, theNonprofit Fundraising return of in-person fundraisers is on the horizon. If 2020 has taught us anything, we know the importance of continuing fundraising efforts in a safe manner.  Below are some tips to consider before hosting an in-person fundraising event.

Conduct transactions using touchless methods

Thanks to the technological advancements over the last few years, most business transactions can now take place without two people having to exchange something physical. Is your nonprofit organization planning on resuming its annual golf tournament, run, cookout, auction, or other fundraising event in 2021? Have participants register online prior to the event on your organization’s website. If you still want participants to have the opportunity to sign up on-the-spot, provide a QR code at the event that can be scanned with a mobile device to sign up and pay. Aside from registrations, if payments will take place at the event, allow customers to pay via mobile apps such as PayPal, Venmo or CashApp. Additionally, consider purchasing software such as Square to accept credit card payments which can also be done in a touchless manner.

Consider Sign Up Sheets and Time Slots 

While most restrictions on capacity have been lifted, many people may still be wary about attending events with large crowds, so it is important to plan the event in advance. Offer opportunities for participants to sign up prior to the event to gauge numbers to best prepare as well as manage large crowds. It may also be wise to host your fundraising event in shifts, limiting the amount of people that are at one place. For example, if hosting a dinner, an organization may decide to serve at 5:00 and 7:00, rather than 6:00 as in the past. While this may be more work on the organization, many participants would appreciate the desire to have gatherings conducted in a safe manner. Finally, ensure all attendees check into the event, for contact tracing purposes.

Provide Goods or Products in a Safe Manner 

It is important to be respectful that COVID-19 brought about much fear in how our society conducted gatherings. Your organization may want to avoid potluck style meals and turn to catered or prepackaged snacks. If the gathering is seated, be mindful of the distance between each seat.  As a courtesy, your organization could provide disposable masks and hand sanitizer for attendees who wish to use them.

If you have further questions regarding your nonprofit’s fundraising event, please reach out to the professionals at Gilliam Bell Moser LLP.

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Lindsay Lang, CPA
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